Dogs With A Blog 8/27

(1) Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club “Yet Another Hugo Post”

I was going to mine the Intertubes for Nazi quotes that the Puppy-Kickers could have said if they’d been about Puppies or white men rather than Jews, but alas, even in translation Hitler and Goebbels are so much more articulate the comparison would be utterly unfair to the Puppy-Kickers (and remember, these are writers and editors – but the Nazis beat them on all fronts when it comes to articulating points of view. I suppose I should be relieved: pointing and shrieking tends to be rather less than effective as a means of converting the undecided).

Oh, and for those who are wondering? The reason I didn’t use quotes from Mao, Lenin, or Stalin was that an awful lot of Puppy-Kickers would be flattered to be compared to such luminaries of the world’s most lethal ideology.

So, let’s call them for what they are. Nasty, petty, bullying socialists who would fit in just as well with the Nazis as they would with their equally murderous Communist cousins. They even have a racial agenda, and while they’d deny it, they’re so US-centric it’s hilarious (as well as sad).

And what’s even sadder is this pathetic collection of power-hungry little Hitlers have destroyed what was once a genuinely respected award. Whether it can be resurrected by the Campaign to End Puppy-Related Sadness or not, I consider the cause to be worthy.

Anonymous (who else?) in a comment on fail-fandomanon

Oh, dear. I hope the popcorn harvest this year is bountiful; looks like we’ll need it.

Kate Paulk in a comment on “Yet Another Hugo Post”

It’s not Godwin’s law if the comparison is legitimate, Mr Brandt.

(2) Mark Judge on Acculturated – “Political Correctness Puts Science Fiction on Trial”

John C. Wright losing to “No Award” is like the Rolling Stones losing to “No Award” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s a disgrace.

The blackballing of Wright brings to mind, yet again, the concept of punitive liberalism. The phrase was coined by James Piereson in his brilliant and groundbreaking book, Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism. Punitive liberalism, unlike classic liberalism—which was tolerant, thoughtful, and popular in America during most of the history of science fiction—is a product of post-1960s identity politics, is against free thought, against virile men of action (like the swashbucklers found in a lot of the Sad Puppies’ stories), against sexy ladies in pulp fiction (or anywhere else for that matter), against fun, and focused like a phaser on race, class, and gender.

It’s why John C. Wright, one of the best science fiction writers alive, is not sitting at home polishing his five Hugos.

(3) Sanford Begley on Otherwhere Gazette – “Congratulations to the winner”

The Hugo awards for 2015 are over. The clear winner is Vox “Machiavelli” Day. He pretty much got everything he wanted. He wanted Three Body Problem to win and it did. He wanted the Hugos to No Award everything and it mostly did. He wanted to help the SJWs in general and the powers behind the World Science Fiction Convention to look like screaming idiots and it happened. And he was given so much help that a casual observer has to wonder how many of the people he was destroying were secretly his minions.

Before I go into how thoroughly he won I would like to offer condolences to Laura Mixon, Guardians Of The Galaxy and the others who lost because of his machinations. Yes I said lost. You see, they will be forever tainted by the actions of the body bestowing the award. They will be the winners of the Year of the Asterisk. For those who don’t know it, a vanishingly small body by now, the asterisk is both a sign that they weren’t real winners and a symbol known in SF circles to represent the common asshole. The work they did was certainly deserving of being on the ballot, the way they won will forever brand them as not good enough to win honestly. And the fault lies not with them.  The fault lies in the machinations of a clique of mostly old, mostly white, mostly male morons who could not stand the idea that they were not the all powerful force they thought they were. Well, them and Vox Day.

(4) John Carlton on The Arts Mechanical – “Scalzi And Who’s A Jerk”

He [Scalzi] starts out saying that the puppies acted like jerks.  As if somehow the puppies created a world wide media smear campaign to smear the clique that ran world cons.  Or pressure authors to withdraw their nominations.  Or derided fans who nominated the “wrong books” as “wrong fans.”  The puppies did all that?  Actually no.  That was Scalzi and his friends.

His primary complaint is that the puppies created slate.  He’s all angry about that.  As if this was the first time that anybody had a campaign to nominate books.  As if He, himself had not campaigned to get his stuff nominated.  Or maybe it’s because he wasn’t this year.  Did he really think that he was ENTITLED to award nominations every year?  I guess so. Anyway, Lets look at his list and maybe get a grasp of the truth here.

(5) Tom Knighton – “What Puppies Want From Awards”

Awards should be indicative of quality.  We have maintained that the Hugos haven’t had that for a long time.

You want to know something though?  We can change that perception without anyone having to surrender.

This year, Three Body Problem won for best novel.  It wasn’t on any of the lists, but that was because none of us read it at that time.  However, a number of people on both sides of the divide read it and loved it.  It won not from just anti-puppy support, or puppy support, but from both camps loving the book.

Was that love universal?  No.  No book is universally loved, and 3BP has detractors.  Every book does.

But what matters is that this one book had enough support from two different groups that it won.  It’s proof that this world I dream of, where the good stories win regardless of anything else, can exist.

(6) Jay Swanson – “The Hugos as a Microcosm”

Hugos – How it Could Have Been

My real experience with the Hugos began last Saturday, even if I voted months beforehand (and only on like two things because I was too late to vote on most). So I’d like to address what I saw. I do think it was important, considering how everything had escalated, to send a message that said “It is not OK to hijack the Hugos.” That is a fair statement to make, and the “No Award” handed down as a result was not unfair. It was in how they were handed down that mattered.

It’s important to realize that real people were sitting in that auditorium, their hearts in their throats, their hopes burgeoning that maybe, just maybe, they would win something that night. It’s hard enough not winning an award. It’s doubly so when people applaud the fact that no one won it.

Rather than applaud (of which I’m guilty on a few counts), it would have been more appropriate had I simply nodded quietly in approval. In the same moment, it would have been good to reach out and offer comfort to one of the nominees if they had been nearby. Just to say, “Hey, I realize this sucks, but there’s always next year.”

(7) Jason Clark on Your Nerd Is Showing – “Kicking Puppies: The Promise of Sci-Fi vs. Anti-Inclusivity Brigade”

And then the No Awards began. This article is not a definite list of the winners. The Hugos have that themselves as well as many far more respected journalistic establishments. I’m only going to tell you the sweeping emotion that began to take me as I started sending messages to friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to tell them the results. I was taken by the solidarity of the thing. There were many tolerable candidates on the Sad Puppies slate, but still, the voters hold firm. They would not negotiate with what they felt were bigots or terrorists. They would not put up with the kind of people who would leave a stack of vile papers on the freebies table, hoping to insult as many groups as possible while referring to the SFWA as the “Socialist Fiction Writer’s of America.” Overall, five No Awards were announced that night, bringing the total of No Awards given in the history of the Hugos to five. The Sad Puppies were almost entirely shut out, with the singular exception of “Guardians of the Galaxy” winning long form presentation. It was a category completely full of Puppy nominees and yet, enough voters had intended to vote for it regardless, that it still won. It struck me, sitting there, as the Sad Puppies’ greatest loss. It was the one that proved that voting weren’t just there to spite them. They were protesting the Puppies’ methods and tactics, certainly. But they weren’t beyond voting for a option that they agreed with.

(8) CiaraCat Sci-Fi “Tell me about the good SFF you’ve read/watched in 2015!”

So, now that a record number of fans have shown up to prove that the group barking “You are a tiny clique trying to block us completely out of the Hugo Awards” were, in fact, the tiny clique who themselves were trying to block everybody else out of the awards…. Let’s move on to what new SFF has been coming out!

(9) Miles Schneiderman on YES! Magazine “Sci-Fi Fandom Declares Victory After Reactionary Nominees Lose Big at the Hugos”

Aside from Guardians, the Hugo voters took every opportunity to award nominees not supported by the Puppies. And despite a deck stacked against women and people of color, the voters rewarded both. Chinese author Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem won for “Best Novel,” becoming the first translated novel ever to win a Hugo. The award in the “Best Graphic Story” category went to the first volume of Ms. Marvel, the comic book that features a teenage Muslim girl as its heroine. Julia Dillon won her second straight Hugo for “Best Professional Artist,” beating out four Puppy candidates. Meanwhile, Lightspeed Magazine beat two Puppy nominees for “Best Semiprozine,” and one of Lightspeed’s editors, Christie Yant, began her acceptance speech with a sardonic, “I’d like to thank the patriarchy.”

One of the most interesting winners was Laura J. Mixon, who won “Best Fan Writer” over four Puppies for her exposé on the notorious Internet troll known as Requires Hate. Mixon’s chances of victory had been uncertain, despite her exclusion from the Puppy slates, because Requires Hate turned out to be a left-leaning woman of color who had been nominated for the Campbell award in 2014. She earned her reputation by viciously attacking and bullying authors she perceived as misrepresenting her race and gender, and had been cited by the Puppies as a glaring example of leftist extremism. Mixon exposed and denounced her, and as a result, many anti-Puppy advocates were also anti-Mixon.

In her acceptance speech, Mixon stressed the importance of being inclusive, and while she didn’t explicitly call for the Puppies to be accepted into the fold, that sentiment could clearly be heard. She ended, however, by advocating for the powerless instead. “I stand with marginalized groups who seek merely to be seen as fully human,” Mixon said before leaving the stage. “Black lives matter.”

(10) Eric Offill on GonnaGeek – “World War Geek: Contemplating The Hugo Fiasco”

The Hugo organizers needed to listen to the dissent and try to answer the claims they are voicing. They need to create avenues of trust with those readers who feel marginalized because their taste in sci-fi isn’t trendy. Because whether they believe it or not, they can’t afford to lose these fans or the one these fans will generate. Larry Correia’s work (which I actually think is pretty good) matters. Orson Scott Card’s work matters. And if you don’t think that their voices aren’t trying to be silenced by the progressive side, ask yourself if Starship Troopers were written today, would it have even been nominated not to even mention win?

That said, the Puppies need to stop acting like victims of the establishment. Bear in mind while Sad and Rabid Puppies are two separate groups, the old adage still goes that if you lie down with dogs, you get fleas. You associate with unsavory individuals, align yourself with news outlets of disrepute, not only do you have to fight the battle you picked, but you have to fight the appearance of malice. You can’t proclaim to be taking the high ground and get into the mud with your opponents. If you truly are interested in being the voice of the marginalized, start acting like a reputable activist and you’ll find allies. Otherwise you’re letting your opponents paint you as a petulant child throwing a tantrum, and they could be right.

But neither side has an excuse for the “No Hugo” reaction. This is beyond embarrassing to EVERYONE. Whether you agree with the nominees or not, they are still nominees and DESERVE to compete for an award and not to be denied simply because the voters didn’t like the choices.

(11) George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog – “The Hugo Losers Party”

Not all the losers were there, to be sure. I had a pocket full of invitations throughout the con, as did Parris and my minions Raya and Jo and Tyler, but even so, we missed people. I never saw Mike Glyer, who I was especially eager to invite, since he had attended the first Hugo Losers Party in 1976, and had done such a great job of covering Puppygate in File 770. But we did get Liza and the LOCUS crew, and it was Charlie Brown and LOCUS who named that first party the best at Big Mac. I looked for Toni Weisskopf at the Hugo ceremony, but never found her. I saw John Joseph Adams at the ceremony, but he somehow escaped me during the picture-taking afterward, and my efforts to track him down at the KC bash came to naught. I never found Jo Walton, though I got messages that she was looking for me. There were others I missed as well… and some who were not invited. NO ASSHOLES, the invite warned. We had a small list, and no, I won’t tell you the names on it… but we wanted this party to be about joy and celebration and togetherness, not division, anger, and ugliness.

In that we succeeded. We had a great crowd. Old and young, fan and pro, male and female, gay and straight and trans, losers and winners, editors and publishers and artists and writers, all dancing and laughing and drinking and having fun. It wasn’t as crowded as that party in Denver, no, but there were probably more people; the Glover is a lot bigger than Rusty’s suite was.

And yes, a number of the guests were on the Puppy slates, and yes, the losers included people who lost to No Award, which has to be an especially hard way to lose. Maybe the party helped in some small way. I have to say, if there is any hope at all of reconciliation with the Sad Puppies, it is much more likely to be accomplished with drinks and dancing than by exchanging angry emails over the web.

(12) Lou Antonelli on This Way To Texas – George R.R. Martin Thinks I’m An Asshole”

I ran into George at the “official” reception, and asked him about a non-Hugo related subject, an article I did last spring regarding his donation of a rare first edition of “The Hobbit” to the Texas AQ&M University Library System. He essentially blew me off; I realize now he was only there to find his chums and hand them the private invites. Of course, I had no idea what he was up to. And of course, he didn’t stop to hand me an invite. But I mean, if you read his blog post – I hardly think I would have been happy there. In his blog post, at one point he says: “Some who were not invited. NO ASSHOLES, the invite warned. We had a small list, and no, I won’t tell you the names on it… but we wanted this party to be about joy and celebration and togetherness…” Jeez, George, I may not be the smartest kid in class, but it’s easy to tell my name was on your Asshole list. You know what? At least I didn’t forget my working class roots.

(13) George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog – “What’s It All About, Alfie?”

And this year, thanks to the slates, we had more losers than ever before. This year, indeed, we were all losers. Some lost the usual way, finishing behind an eventual winner. Others lost to No Award, an especially galling sort of defeat. (Which also created five losers in those five categories instead of four). Even the winners lost, since their victories will always bear as asterisk in the minds of some because they triumphed under such unusual circumstances, over a weakened field, or whatever. (I don’t necessarily endorse this viewpoint. I think some of this year’s winners deserve an exclamation point rather than an asterisk. But I have heard a fair amount of the asterisk talk even on Hugo night itself). The Hugos lost: five No Awards is an occasion for mourning, not cheers. The genre lost: I don’t buy that even bad press is good, and we sure got a lot of bad press this year. Fandom lost: division and discord poisoned our annual celebration of love for SF, and left wounds that will be a long time healing. The nominees who withdrew from the slates lost; they walked away from a Hugo nod, a painful thing to do, and were abused for that decision. The nominees who stayed on the ballot lost; they were abused for that decision too, and some, who were NOT Puppies and never asked to be slated, saw their Hugo chances destroyed by the Nuclear option. Some nominees managed to catch flak from both sides.

And there was another class of loser, less visible, but still very much a victim of the slates. Those writers who produced outstanding work in 2014, and who, in a normal year, would have almost certainly received Hugo nominations. Some might even have won rockets. But this was NOT a normal year, and the usual word-of-mouth buzz and fannish enthusiasm that generally carries a story to a place on the Hugo ballot could not and did not prevail against the slate-mongering of the Sad Puppies and the lockstep voting of the Rabids. These were the invisible losers of the 2015 Hugo season. Losing is a part of life, and certainly of the Hugos… but it is one thing to be beaten in a fair contest, and another to be shoved aside and denied the chance to compete.

It was for those ‘invisible losers’ that I decided to create the Alfies. If one accepts that the Hugo has value, these writers had suffered real harm thanks to the slates. There was no way I could hope to redress that… but I could make a gesture. In the door of my room in KC in 1976, Alfie Bester told us that winners can become losers. If so, losers can become winners too. I would give my own awards… and of course I’d name them after Alfie. So that’s how the Alfies came about.

(14) Patrick S. Tomlinson – “One Final Thought on the Hugos”

The whole SP/RP phenomenon is a microcosm of this inability to recognize and cope with shifting attitudes and preferences within the fandom community. They simply refuse to believe that the silent majority really has moved on to new things, so they concocted a narrative to explain their failures where some secret cabal is somehow stacking the deck against them. How this is accomplished, considering both the nomination and voting processes are done through public ballot, is never clearly explained.

And much like the Wisconsin voter fraud case above, the Puppy slate voting was a coordinated attack (although within the rules of the award at the time) meant to counterbalance the SJW conspiracy locking them out of the nomination process. But just like the WI case, there was no conspiracy. There was no attempt to lock them out. They just weren’t that popular among the people who follow, vote for, and attend the Hugos. They thought they’d awaken a sleeping populist dragon that would swoop down and defeat the small clique of elitists holding them back. But the beast they awoke turned on them instead.

That’s a tough pill for anyone to swallow, but the ensuing results should make it very clear where the sympathies of the actual silent majority of modern fandom lay. Now, the question is, will the SP/RP’s take the time to do some self-reflection and learn from this lesson, or will they double down and comfort themselves with even more extreme conspiracy theories? Only time will tell.

(15) George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog – “The Alfies”

Two more Alfies went to ANNIE BELLET and MARKO KLOOS. Added to the slates without their knowledge or consent, both of these talented young writers found themselves on this year’s Hugo ballot, Bellet for her short story “Goodnight Stars” and Kloos for his novel LINES OF DEPARTURE. It was the first Hugo nomination for both of them, something that every science fiction writer dreams of, a day to be remembered and cherished forever. And yet, when they discovered the nature of the slates and the block-voting that had placed them on the ballot, both Bellet and Kloos withdrew, turning down their nominations. I cannot imagine how difficult and painful a decision that must have been. Bellet’s story actually had more nominations than any other short story on the ballot, regardless of slate, which suggests that she might well have been nominated even without the ‘help’ of the Puppies. And it was Marko Kloos’ withdrawal that opened up a space on the ballot for Cixin Liu’s THREE-BODY PROBLEM, the eventual winner. They lost their shot at a Hugo (this year, at least — I think both of them will be back), but their courage and integrity earned them both an Alfie.

The last Alfie of the night had… surprise, surprise… nothing to do with the slates, the Sads, the Puppies, or any of that madness. I wanted to give a token of recognition to one of the giants of our field, a Hugo winner, Hugo loser (if you look only at the fiction categories, he has lost more Hugos than anyone, I believe), SFWA Grand Master, former Worldcon Guest of Honor, and Big Heart Award winner… the one and only Silverbob. The coolest Alfie of all (the half-lucite one that lights up) went to ROBERT SILVERBERG, the only man among us to have attended every Hugo Awards ceremony since 1953. There has never been a Hugo given out without Silverberg watching. Just think of that!

(16) CCTV – “Chinese sci-fi hit wins Hugo Awards for the first time”

Chinese sci-fi fans were ecstatic when they learned that the Hugo Awards, one of the most prestigious science-fiction awards in the world, went to a Chinese novel for the first time.

The Three-Body Problem, written by Chinese sci-fi novelist Liu Cixin, beat out four other finalists and was announced the winner of the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel in Seattle on Saturday night local time.

The book’s translator Ken Liu accepted the award on the author’s behalf.

As one of the key international awards for the sci-fi genre, the Hugo Awards have been recognizing the best science fiction or fantasy works published in English since 1953.

The Three-Body Problem is also the first Chinese sci-fi novel that has been translated to English. Ever since it was first serialized in a Chinese sci-fi magazine in 2006, The Three-Body Problem, now a complete trilogy, has captivated millions of people in China for its magnificent space philosophy, and was unanimously hailed by sci-fi fans as “China’s best sci-fi novel.” In 2014, the English version of the trilogy’s first book was published in the US.

The second book, The Dark Forest, is planned to hit stores this summer, and the finale, Death’s End, will be out in January 2016, according to the trilogy’s publisher Tor Books.

(17) Don’t show this to the Gallifrey One committee!

(18) Makes me feel better about my own copyediting —

‘As You Know’ Bob in a comment on File 770

Three days after losing “Best Editor” to “NO AWARD” ….Beale self-publishes a book with TWO Chapter Fives?

Is there anyone in the entire universe who continues to question the collective wisdom of the Hugo voters?

Now a bestseller:

John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular: How SJWs Always Lie About Our Compariative Popularity Levels – Kindle Edition

by Theophilus Pratt (Author, Editor)

Just look at these glowing comments:

More Chapter 5s Than Some Books !

ByTechnoLadyon August 27, 2015

Brilliant and, in all modesty, possibly one of the great works of the 21st century. I especially liked the Chapter layout and how they were sequentialized. This groundbreaking tome once and for all settles the matter of the perfidious John Scalzi’s popularity! This book actually has THREE bonus Chapter Fives, unlike some other lesser works which give you barely two. This NEEDS to be nominated for a Best Editor award next year!

Even the object of the parody admires the product:

And John Scalzi responded to File 770 commenters’ request that he voice the audiobook by dangling this bait“Charity Drive for Con or Bust: An Audio Version of ‘John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular’ Read by Me”

Short version: To benefit Con or Bust, a charity which helps fans of color attend science fiction and fantasy conventions, I will make an audio version of John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular: How SJWs Always Lie About Our Comparative Popularity Levels, a parody of an actual book by a certain obnoxious bigot who is obsessed with me, if $2,500 is raised for Con or Bust by 11:59pm (Eastern), Sunday, August 30, 2015. You can donate to Con or Bust here. To goose the giving, I will gift-match for the first $500 in donations.

(19) A tweet from a celebrity Hugo presenter.

(20) Bringer Tom on Metafilter

There was a period in my life when my fondest dream was to be a professional science fiction writer. All I can think now is that I dodged a huge fucking bullet when that didn’t work out.

(21) You can check out any time you like….

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785 thoughts on “Dogs With A Blog 8/27

  1. Nigel said

    We really ought to Latin those up

    You want good Latin, or bad?

    I’ll take submissions, naturally.

    Rev. Bob: oops!

  2. Puppies are too nice. Let’s refer to them in future as the Rabid Skunks and Sad Skunks, especially appropriate given the fact that they still continue to pollute the air.

  3. I don’t have space or time to maintain squash lines (and I do love Sunshine kabocha even if it is a hybrid) so I purchase my seed, but I figure financially supporting seed savers is good, and if everything falls apart I have a year’s supply on hand to give me a start at keeping my own. I wish some SF authors just doing hand-waving about colonists or post-apocalyptic survivors raising their food would pay attention to how much WORK it is! )

    I have ten–TEN!–seeds of South African Gem Squash that I am planting next year and praying that I get enough to save a few hundred. It’s impossible to find from growers and I got them from an ex-pat who will mail you seeds, so I am hoarding them and next year will be All Gems All The Time. I have never been so anxious for a crop.

    @Soon Lee – That’s not lazy, that’s smart! No point in growing things you won’t use.

    I refer to my garden as the “condiment garden” — I’d be hard pressed to live out of it, but I keep us in herbs, hot peppers, tomatoes*, cucumbers, blueberries, figs, tomatillos and soup beans. This year I added spaghetti squash to that, until the damn pickleworms took them out, and ground cherries. More of a snack bar than a larder.

    *Most years–it was a bad one for standard tomatoes this year. The grape tomatoes are, as always, invincible.

  4. Charles Mohapel: I grew up in a neighborhood that had wild skunks, and I think this is very unfair to them. They’re mellow omnivores, who just want to live comfortably, and only spray when others fail to notice that this thing they’re about to tangle with is a skunk. They don’t go invading anyone else’s space – they’re not aggressive. They do like many things often found in residential neighborhoods’ garbage bins, but they’re not like bears, they can’t rip bins apart looking for goodies. Anyone who has skunks in their backyard or alley going through the trash did a bad job of securing the trash.

    I spent 18 years coexisting with skunks with no problem. All it took was noticing, oh, look, that particular fat black cat walking with a slow confident swagger has a white stripe down its back and is in fact not a cat, and waiting for it to move on. Two packs of skunks in sf fandom would be much more welcome than the Puppies crowds.

  5. oh man … was it me that brought up preppers??

    Sorry about that. Yes … I have seeds AND ammo stashed away. Seeds are by far more important of course … and I have a little knowledge to go with them (which I hope to never have to put to the test).

    on a related note I am currently reading Robert Heinlein’s first volume of Expanded Universe in which he writes several essays about prepping for TEOTWAWKI due to inevitable nuclear war (written in the years right after the conclusion of WW2). Very grim but also written with some humor …

  6. @RedWombat on August 28, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Righteous rant!

    And it reminds me of something I’ve always thought — I’ve known plenty of SF libertarian types who stockpile guns sorta-kinda in the idea that there might be a social collapse. They have this idea of themselves as tough survivalists (even though most of them are overweight, middle-aged, in generally poor health, and too out of shape to outrun any but the slowest zombies). But when the apocalypse comes, I am not running to the people with guns. I am running to the hippies with an off-the-grid organic farm.

    And, yeah, the gold hoarders are pathetic. You can’t eat guns, but you can’t even kill something with gold.

  7. Bruce Baugh,

    I apologize to the skunks and suggest that they deal with the former Rabid Puppies and Sad Puppies about stealing their act. 😉

  8. I point out that just as actual skunks are innocuous, actual puppies are adorable*. I’ve personally used “Skunk” as an allusion to the famous Heinlein quote about why the Hugo slates were indeed unethical. No actual skunks were harmed in the making of this allusion.

    *To be sure, the couple times our real dog tangled with a real skunk, there was nothing innocuous about the result. Many canines knew what it was to be bathed in cans of tomato juice that day, I can tell you.

  9. “The scifi fans are alright: I saw the future at the Hugo Awards — and it will never belong to the toxic right-wing trolls” by Arthur Chu

    This weekend I was attending the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, this year held on Spokane, Washington, where the 2015 Hugo Awards were being presented. It was my first time as an in-person attendee of the WorldCon and my second time as a Hugo voter, since, like most science fiction fans, I didn’t care enough about the Hugos to spend $40 to join the convention and vote until scary people bizarrely calling themselves “Sad and Rabid Puppies” started fucking with them.

    Others have already written about what went down with that this year–a concerted attempt to game the nominations system to turn the ballot into a troll ballot, a sound rejection of that ballot with a record number of “No Award” votes this year. Most of them, however, weren’t there, and I was.

    The one thing I’d like to add to that conversation is how much of a difference it made to me, personally, to do something I hadn’t done in a very long time–going out to a science fiction and fantasy event in person and talking with people face-to-face rather than writing tweets and thinkpieces about this stuff online.

    Online, it feels like science fiction fandom has erupted into civil war. The media’s urge to always give “both sides of the story” lends itself to that kind of coverage. Certainly Breitbart and other right-wing outlets have milked this controversy as much as possible, painting the Hugo results in apocalyptic terms using hilariously awkward, overwrought metaphors as some kind of crisis between fandom’s unelected tyrannical elite and the true majority of fans crying out for justice.

    I’m familiar with this pattern. Online communication hasn’t really democratized our discourse in a neutral way–it’s distorted our discourse in favor of drama and conflict.

    As I’ve previously pointed out, the reason the Hugo nominations were gameable in the first place is that Internet-based polls tend to favor those who are most willing to invest time and energy flooding said polls, which sometimes are the people who genuinely care most about the award but all too often are just shitty trolls.

    Bruce Schneier, an expert on voting systems, computer security and science fiction got the rare opportunity to combine all three passions and talk about this back when it occurred; now that the voting statistics have been released you can look at them and see that the total number of people who nominated the “Sad Puppies slate” was a coordinated group of about 200-300 people.

    Their nominations weren’t any more “authentic” than it’s the authentic will of a significant percentage of the American people for “Deez Nuts” to become President, or a 39-year-old 4chan user to be named Taylor Swift’s “biggest fan”, or for a module of the International Space Station to be named for Stephen Colbert.

    They got away with it because the nominations process is much less publicized than the final voting–especially this year’s final voting, after what the Puppies had done had been publicized. In the final vote, in most cases the No Award votes outnumbered the votes for all of the Puppy nominees combined (for instance, there were 3,259 votes to give No Award for Best Related Work compared to 1,642 for every single work on the ballot).

    Far from the narrative that the Sad Puppy slate was somehow the majority voice of fandom speaking out against a tiny elite clique, this Hugo Awards voting pool was the largest voting pool in history, and it was a voting pool that soundly rejected this reactionary “movement.”

    It wasn’t just the numbers that told the story, though. The experience of being at WorldCon vs. reading about it online was like night and day.

    My experience talking about social issues in geeky fandom online is one of constant attacks and sniping and arguing and “controversy”. If you clicked on the #HugoAwards hashtag Saturday night you could see a steady stream of 4chan-style obscenities, slurs and assorted nastiness from people not present.

    But in person? To paraphrase the great Bill Hicks, I saw a lot of division among convention attendees about the Sad Puppies “movement”; people who viewed the movement with frustrated rage and people who viewed the movement with bemused pity.

    There were, to be sure, plenty of personal beefs and political differences. I met many people I’d argued with online about various topics. Plenty of people had negative things to say about the response to the Sad Puppies, saying that other people had been too harsh or too hostile or too unhelpful in tone.

    But defending the Puppies’ actions? Not a single person I met took that stance. The “controversy” didn’t exist outside the Internet. Everyone across the spectrum was united by sheer astonishment at how assholish the move to game the nominations was.

    I’ve heard Puppies claim that Annie Bellet, who was nominated on the Puppies’ slate (without her knowledge), was pressured into declining her nomination out of fear of the all-powerful “SJW cabal”, of which I’m apparently a member. I saw no terror of Stalinist repression in her eyes when I hung out with her trading dead baby jokes at a party last weekend. Politically conservative authors like Larry Niven and Mike Resnick held meetups and readings without incident. Even Sad Puppy Lou Antonelli, who literally tried to call the cops on WorldCon guest of honor David Gerrold as an ugly, shitty prank, didn’t have his invitation rescinded (even though some, like me, called for it) in an effort to keep the olive branch extended.

    I was, with some trepidation, considering amount of abuse I’ve received online talking about this stuff, scheduled to be on panel at WorldCon talking about diversity–what I ended up getting was large, interested crowds genuinely looking to discuss the issue in good faith.

    Don’t get me wrong–the reactionary mob exists, and are dangerous. Antonelli’s stunt to try to get the cops called on the convention failed, but if it’d succeeded he’d be guilty of putting people’s lives in danger over his bizarre right-wing persecution complex.

    But he was forced to apologize almost instantly once news of what he’d done got out, and he kept his head down for the whole weekend, because he was so very much alone in thinking this was justified.

    I’ve had this experience before. I’ve played video games my whole life, my wife and I are together because of gaming–I proposed to her at a video game convention–and I was deeply sick at heart to watch the toxic elements in gaming turn into an ongoing, undying shitstorm over the past year.

    But when I thought my “home convention”, the DC-area gaming and music convention MAGFest, might be spoiled for me forever I found out that even though the GamerGaters were frightening and unrelenting and loud on Twitter, they were totally absent at the convention itself and I was able to give a talk about resisting the reactionary culture GamerGate represents to a standing-room-only crowd that gave a standing ovation.

    It’s an important thing to remember, especially on rough days when the Internet trolls are out in force. For all the benefits of greater interconnectivity it’s easily abused by people who leverage that connectivity to make their voices sound louder and scarier than they really are–people who are disproportionately politically reactionary white men, people who see change happening in the world and mobilize every dirty tactic they can to try to stop it.

    It’s only on the Internet that the term “gamer” has become loaded with negative connotations thanks to a small, mobilized minority waving it as a battle flag to cause harm. At my old office job, in my life as a theater guy, among my relatives–I meet people who play games all the time, and all of this toxic inside-baseball politics is foreign to them.

    Almost everyone I meet nowadays from whatever walk of life is a fan of some science fiction or fantasy franchise–none of them have even heard of most of the Sad Puppy participants except as names of jerks in news stories.

    The mainstream world isn’t perfect, but it’s improving. Star Wars Episode VII is finally coming out, and with a diverse cast. We’re getting an all-female Ghostbusters. Last year we saw our first major science fiction award ceremony without any white male winners at the 2014 Nebulas. Last weekend I got to meet writers like Kate Elliott and Cat Valente and Ramez Naam who, regardless of whether they win awards or not, are writing books, making money and inspiring fans.

    By comparison full-time Internet trolls like Vox Day are able to get their names in the news by eight entries from their tiny, ebook only, Finland-based self-owned publishing house no one has ever heard of. They can bask in the glorious attention from interviewers from mainstream media outlets and twirl their mustaches while cackling about their “390 sworn and numbered faceless minions” who let them game whatever polls they want. (A whole 390 people! Wow.)

    But that’s not enough to dominate an industry. It’s not enough to spoil an in-person convention of real science fiction and fantasy fans. It’s not even enough to actually win the awards once enough people catch wind of what you’re doing. Outside of ambushing unprepared people on the Internet with sudden dogpiles–which, let me make clear, is not just annoying but abusive and dangerous–these people have almost no power at all.

    So let them troll, let them explode in fury about how we’re all “Christ haters” and “Morlocks” on their blogs. Let them blow up piles of records and make endless egg accounts on Twitter and spam obscene gifs in the comments.

    It’s not harmless. It’s awful, and we need to find much better ways to respond to it than we’ve been doing. But it remains true that the very nature of terrorism is to generate fear out of proportion to the actual power you wield, and to let terrorists dominate your conversation and your thoughts is the only way they can, in the long run, win.

    So by all means continue fighting your battles in the present–I’m still an Internet flame warrior, despite it all, because lies need to be refuted and victims need to be defended and assholes need to be called what they are. But don’t make it more important than it is.

    All they have is this one tiny, dingy slice of the present. The future is ours.

  10. Charles, that was beautiful. All is forgiven, in re skunks. 😀 I’m just sitting here beaming. Thank you for writing all those thoughts up.

  11. @Rev. Bob
    So a little smart-assery calling out trolls for their trolling via Hugo noms wouldn’t necessarily go against the spirit of the awards, in your book. I don’t know you, but from your posts you seem quite firmly embedded in fandom, so I’ll trust your opinion. And yeah, somehow the idea of VD/BT winning (well, TBH, being nominated for… they won’t win) a Hugo for thrashing around on the floor screaming angry demands for MORE CANDY is very appealing to me.

  12. @ Ginger: You want good Latin, or bad?

    The worst. Alien scholars millennia from now should have nervous breakdowns trying to decipher it.

  13. Tangling with skunks is likely to end badly for all concerned. Having them in the neighborhood is no big deal, assuming you know to leave them alone:

    For the last several years that I lived in New York, there were skunks living in the local park. We’d occasionally catch a whiff of skunk as we walked past their dens, or if one of them had just been through the building parking lot scavenging for food in the trash cans; they don’t smell strong or particularly bad when not using their odor defensively.

    My partner saw a skunk approaching him in the park one evening, so he started to whistle. The skunk turned away: they want to tangle with humans even less than we want to tangle with them.

  14. @Susan: I wish some SF authors just doing hand-waving about colonists or post-apocalyptic survivors raising their food would pay attention to how much WORK it is!

    Susan, if you haven’t done so, and you like disaster tales, try Stirling’s Island in the Stream of Time or Dies the Fire. I promise his handling of post-apocalypse agriculture will please you.

  15. I’m reminded of a funny story about the writing of Island In The Sea Of Time. Stirling looked up the blacksmiths on the actual Nantuckett Island, and went to talk with him. The guy turned out to be not just an sf/f fan, but in particular an alternate history fan, with an extensive collection of Stirling books among many others. So the guy immediately understood the sorts of questions his visitor was asking, about bootstrapping up technology from a limited starting point like, say, his smithy. As Stirling put it when writing it up on GEnie, that’s exactly the kind of thing reality gives you that you absolutely can’t put into a story because readers will be sure it could never happen.

  16. @McJulie

    They have this idea of themselves as tough survivalists (even though most of them are overweight, middle-aged, in generally poor health, and too out of shape to outrun any but the slowest zombies).

    Zombieland survival rule #1: cardio.

  17. NowhereMan wrote:

    I think the root cause of the Puppy indignation and incoherence is this: …

    Your post put it very well.

    Charles Mohapel quoted the Salon article by by Arthur Chu:

    This weekend I was attending the 74th World Science Fiction Convention,

    No he wasn’t, unless he has a time machine. But aside from that, a very good article.

    UncannyValley said:

    Just took a peek at Beale’s blog (truly not worth looking at – it is exactly what you would expect) and it appears that he is now mocking Alexandra Erin’s status as a transwoman.

    Exactly what one would expect from an narcissistic psychopath. Sometimes I wonder if people like this can truly be considered human 🙁

    I don’t think there’s any doubt by now that humans can be monumental assholes, even monsters. Even narcissistic psychopaths are humans.

    Kathodus said:

    And yeah, somehow the idea of VD/BT winning (well, TBH, being nominated for… they won’t win) a Hugo for thrashing around on the floor screaming angry demands for MORE CANDY is very appealing to me.

    Me too. But if it wouldn’t fly as a Dramatic Presentation nomination, perhaps as a Best Related Work, instead?

  18. Jim Henley said:

    Recent readings: Iain M. Banks’ The Use of Weapons. I enjoyed the first two Culture novels. This one clobbered me. It’s the kind of book where I take a little nonreading time afterward to absorb.

    Iain M. Banks is a favourite of mine, and his Culture books are top-drawer space opera. It’s just so sad he died before his time. There was an interview with him at the end of his last science fiction novel, The Hydrogen Sonata, in which he said that he had ideas for many more Culture novels. Well, better to have had those books he did have time to write than none at all.

    One of my favourite Culture novel is another of the early ones, The Player of Games. Not a long novel, but well-nigh perfect.

    I got pushback from someone on Twitter when I compared Use of Weapons to a John LeCarré novel, but I think the comparison holds up.

    Now that you mention it, yes, I agree. (LeCarré is another favourite of mine. I just recently read his latest novel, A Delicate Truth, and he’s still in strong form.)

  19. Pingback: Amazing Stories | AMAZING NEWS of FANDOM: 8/30/15 - Amazing Stories

  20. Kyra! Kyra! Stop!!!!

    Castledown is lovely. Finish it. Just don’t read The Great Wheel. I mean, you will. I did. I did it twice. But it will hurt, and you will be sad.

  21. @Greg –

    Second, the vendor isn’t the one “on trial” here; the subject of everyone’s anger is the convention organizer who told him she couldn’t do anything about his complaint.

    If you read to the end, the woman turns out not to be both a con organizer and the one who (allegedly) threw the guy’s coat on the floor in the first place. She was referring to herself in the third person. Nobody pointed it out until the last comment.

    The person who was doing most of the complaining on the page I read was someone who had a long list of prior grievances with the con organization, it wasn’t just random pile-on due to the complaint.

  22. Hypnotosov: Oh look, Sarah-two-names has produced a new and expanded attack on Kowal, appropriately titled Fauxtrage. Because the last one wasn´t offensive enough.

    I think one of Sarah Hoyt’s adolescent children must have made that post. It’s full of irrationalities and non sequiturs and WTF are all those animated gifs??? It’s like a juvenile version of “the failure mode of clever”.

  23. Mark Dennehy: Yeah, but maybe with a larger database? That didn’t have the dark forest in it, for example.

    The Dark Forest is there, maybe you missed it? (unless someone has just added it in the last couple of days, but it looks as though it’s been there longer).

    Worldcat has some neat things — but isfdb has some things that Worldcat doesn’t. I recommend using a combination of the two.

  24. Mrc: The author sat bemused at his mighty hardwood writing desk in a state of fevered agitation, stroking his majestic beard as he deeply pondered with considered appreciation the lavender-tinged prose that had spurted so energetically from his pen, like fair nymph-like and pale skinned Athena rising up from the engorged head of her mighty thewed patriarch.

    I just thought that was worth re-posting, for the sheer Saudi Prose beauty of it.

  25. rcade: The asterisk is a symbol for asshole because of SF writer Kurt Vonnegut.

    Matthew B.: I doubt the Puppies have read much Vonnegut. Though they might have heard second-hand summaries of “Harrison Bergeron.”

    And I’m just going to leave that bon mot there for the beauty of it, too.

  26. The Dark Forest is there, maybe you missed it? (unless someone has just added it in the last couple of days, but it looks as though it’s been there longer).

    Worldcat has some neat things — but isfdb has some things that Worldcat doesn’t. I recommend using a combination of the two.

    It didn’t turn up in the search by author or title, with variants of both, the day I posted that. But I’ve no problem with using more than one data source, so long as the sources are reliable (otherwise it makes things worse). In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll have to use a second source because I don’t think Worldcat has short stories listed individually…

  27. @JJ:

    I’ve had some of the Puppy kids – including at least one of Sarah Hoyt’s – in my gaming room. I don’t remember them being that immature.

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